Google have announced at a preliminary E3 event of Friday their plans to launch YouTube Gaming, a video game streaming platform designed to compete with the popular Amazon-owned Twitch. The company has launched both an app and a website for the service, which currently feature a screen announcing a summer 2015 launch; it will be initially restricted to the United States and United Kingdom.
The YouTube game streaming service is supposed to be different from the popular site while still integrated within it. It follows an unsuccessful past attempt that Google had at buying Twitch before it was snatched up by Amazon, and it will probably take full advantage of the countless gaming and walkthrough channels which the site already has registered.
However, according to its developers, YouTube Gaming aims to be not only a live streaming service but also a main hub for all gaming-related content currently on the main site. This will include separate pages for over 25,000 video games and search engine tweaks (with a popular gambit during the presentation having the service use the input search “call” to suggest Call of Duty video games rather than the popular music video for “Call Me Maybe”).
Some analysts suggest that the platform might prove to be a step forward for introducing marketers into a better gaming context, as the rise of e-sports have highlighted gaming as a very marketable medium, especially for young audiences.
“If you’re running around in a horror game and all of sudden there’s a gleaming Coke machine, it throws off the narrative,” said Joost van Dreunen, CEO of games analytics company SuperData Research. “But advertisers know their way around sponsoring sports. People who watch sports are comfortable with watching advertisements.”
It will be interesting to see how this announcement will affect the current dynamics of game streaming and broadcasting. YouTube has become a very popular haven for gamers, with the most popular channel on the site pertaining to Swede Felix Kjellberg – known as PewDiePie – who regularly posts playthroughs of various popular and indie games to a subscriber base of 37 million.
Currently, most popular gaming channels – such TotalBiscuit or AngryJoeShow – regularly upload content videos on YouTube while also hosting streaming sessions on Twitch. Even if an integrated platform might sound like less headaches overall, there are many gaming channels who have been critical of certain aspects of YouTube in the near past, such as its non-restricted commenting section or its unclear and complicated monetization and copyright claiming policy.
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